Just a year ago, in the 2016-17 men’s society basketball season, the Chi Alpha Pi Cavaliers finished with a 2-4 record and failed to make the playoffs. In that season, they were at the end of the standings, and finished 11th out of 12 teams.
However, the Cavaliers looked quite different this year. They added some key freshmen, learned to play unselfishly, and lived by the motto “when in doubt, shoot” in route to winning the 2017-2018 championship. The Cavs defeated the Beta Gamma Delta Patriots 78-68 on Saturday night.
“The biggest difference with this team and last year’s is team chemistry,” sophomore Jared Leith said. “Last year, we had guys trying to talk over each other. It was completely frustrating.
“But this year, everyone was calm and worked really well together.”
Beta forward Brady Fressel opened the scoring with a mid-range jumper, giving the Patriots their first and only lead of the game.
However, once the Cavs got the three-point shot rolling, there was little that the Patriots, or anyone else in the league for that matter, could do to stop it.
Joel Bauman and Peter Hicks both hit threes in the opening minutes for the Cavs, and the team went on a 12-2 run to start the contest.
The Cavs never looked back and walked into half-time with a convincing 42-35 lead. Hunter Stinedurf and Leith were defensive workhorses and crashed the glass time after time for key rebounds.
Meanwhile, Hicks, Bauman and Carter Hughes hit three after three within the free-flowing motion offense.
In the second half, the Patriots were hanging within eight points, and Hicks went down with a knee injury.
It looked as though the momentum had turned in Beta’s favor.
“The turning point of the game was when Peter got injured in the second half, Leith said.
“With him being one of our most valuable players, other guys had to step up, and we did.”
Beta cut the lead to five points with just eight minutes to go in the game. However, with the score at 59-54, Hughes and Bauman hit back-to-back threes to re-gain a sizable lead.
With two hard-working post players surrounded by three-point snipers, the Cavs controlled the game all the way to the final whistle.
Hughes led the team with a game-high 22 points, and Bauman added 19. As the Cavs players began to congratulate each other, their fans hopped onto the court and celebrated with the team.
Beta put up a great fight and was hampered by an early injury to forward Jon Young.
Young was a key piece and could have affected the outcome of the game.
In the end, we don’t know what would have happened if Young and Hicks had played the entire contest.
What we do know, is that for the 2018 society basketball season, the Chi Alpha Pi Cavaliers are the men’s reigning champions.